Named after one of the city’s popular student areas, singing songs written in the halls of residence and playing tracks that ‘only work in Sheffield’; it’s hard to find a band that has a stronger connection to the university’s venue. So it seemed only right that Sheffield’s beloved sons The Crookes would step up to the mark for the first gig at The University of Sheffield’s newly done up Foundry, Studio and Fusion venue.
Opening for The Crookes was The Oreoh!s, a three piece from Halifax made up of sister duo Esme and Sid Hand-Halford and Hennry Wade on lead guitar. Too young to even buy themselves a drink at the bar, the three teenagers played to an already half full Foundry, and their nerves were on show. But despite obvious anxieties the trio played a set of upbeat, 60s inspired pop songs, written with the naivety and played with the raw talent that only a young, good quality band can pull off.
Suited and booted The Hosts were next up on stage for a hometown gig. Taking off with a slow start the band seem more concentrated on looking and sounding cool rather than engaging with a crowd that was hanging on their every word. But before long front man Tom Hogg was winding up fellow band members about impressing girls with the band and making awkward jokes about bouncers that went down like a lead balloon. Luckily for The Hosts the university wasn’t holding a comedy evening and the five piece continued with their set of old school rock and roll tracks driven by Hogg’s vocals and very obviously inspired by Sheffield’s coolest music man Richard Hawley. The legend has worked with the band in the past, and more recently produced ‘September Song’. Despite early shuns of the crowd The Hosts soon had Foundry chanting ‘BAKE OFF BAKE OFF BAKE OFF NOW’ during a 15 minute long rendition of ‘Wake Up’, which was recorded at the gig.
Despite tweeting about fears the venue was too big just a few hours before the show, Foundry was packed for the headliners, and huge cheers from their hometown crowd welcomed The Crookes back to Sheffield after having spent time in America.
And the band’s pre show nerves were nowhere to be seen on the Foundry’s stage, bouncing along to their set with their fans. Favourite ‘Afterglow’ goes down a storm whilst “Yes, Yes We’re Magicians” impresses, with lead singer George Waite coming across almost Doherty-esque with rolling guitars and lyrics about troubled souls.
Back on their own turf, and taking to the stage one last time before disappearing during the colder months to write, the four piece spend their time between songs reminiscing about time spent partying in Foundry during their own days at uni. Song dedications came thick and fast, with tracks being dedicated to one fan who travelled from Stockholm for the show, every girl in the venue called Sophie during the band’s rendition of ‘Sofie’ from latest album Hold Fast and constant shoutouts for the people of Sheffield, of course.
The Crookes are obviously a big part of Sheffield’s music scene, and owe the students’ union a lot to their success, so as the four piece headed to the merch stand to greet their fans, it feels like Foundry is well and truly back on the city’s musical map.